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Saints play-off inclusion shows a major problem

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There have been many off the field problems in the NFL this season, from Ray Rice to Adrian Peterson and the always talked about Commissioner, they may now have an on field problem.

We are currently in the midst of week 11 of the 2014 NFL season and the play-off teams are starting to reveal themselves.

With the play-off standings beginning to be reviewed on a weekly basis, there is one glaring problem with the entire seeding system.

Currently, the six AFC teams entering the Post season are the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals.

While in the NFC the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks make up their play-off picture - and therein lies the problem.

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The biggest example of the issue this year comes in the form of the 4-5 Saints who currently hold the 4th seed in the NFC.

Needless to say, with teams like the Green Bay Packers at 6-3 and the San Francisco 49ers at 5-4 missing out, is it fair that the Saints are in the post-season?

Of course we have six weeks before the regular season ends, but is a particularly weak division as good as a free pass to the play-offs for the Saints?

With the NFC South consisting of the 1-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons both with a 3-6 record it is arguably the worst division in the NFL.

So the question raises, should each divisional winner really be allowed to just walk into the post-season, or is there a fairer way?

The new play-off structure

Of course the most simplistic way of re-structuring the play-offs would be to take the top six teams in each conference.

If the conference standings were considered, the Saints would actually be the eighth seed, not the fourth and would allow the 6-3 Packers into the post-season.

Arguably the biggest downside to this form of a system however could be that it would lead to certain divisions dominating the post-season.

With AFC West hosting the 49ers, Seahawks and Cardinals, it is arguably the highest quality division in the NFC.

The AFC West is the same with the Broncos, Chiefs and San Diego Chargers making it the most packed division in the conference.

Although a conference standings system would questionably be fairer, it could lead to a monopolization of the post-season by certain divisions.

Of course an alternative method of deciding the play-off teams would be to maintain the divisional winners automatically reaching the post-season with a twist.

Putting divisional standings based on divisional matchups rather than season records would be a fair way to evaluate the strongest team in each division whilst seasonal records could determine the wildcard teams.

Whichever way the system changed to it could lead to a fairer system which would stop teams who have been very average keeping teams who have impressed out of the Play-offs.

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Topics:
Green Bay Packers
NFL
New Orleans Saints
NFL Playoffs

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